[SatNews] Consumers in key European TV markets are ready to embrace Ultra HD as a thrilling TV experience and to invest in equipment and content.
The pulse of Ultra HD was presented at IBC2015 by Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) at a recent press briefing. The briefing included key findings of new qualitative consumer research conducted for Eutelsat by market research firm TNS, and fresh data from GfK on Ultra HD screen sales.
The consumer qualitative study was carried out in two waves in Italy, France, the UK, Germany, Poland Russia and Turkey: the first wave in November 2014 and the second in June 2015. The objective, in a series of focus groups, was to expose pay-TV subscribers and free-to-air viewers to an unprompted Ultra HD experience and gather insight on their response.
The results show common trends across all markets. Panelists identified sharpness, immersion and vivid color as outstanding benefits and indicated a willingness to pay up to 10 euros a month to benefit from Ultra HD in the home. Their investment threshold for new TV sets also matched current price points of between 1,000 and 3,000 euros for screens within the 50-inch range. While pay-TV subscribers showed a strong preference for linear Ultra HD channels, viewers used to free TV expressed a preference to gain their first experience through VOD and occasional, event-specific offerings.
Eutelsat also presented new forecasts from GfK on Ultra HD screen sales over the coming six months and coming five years. GfK predicts a striking 200 percent hike in Ultra HD screen sales from June to December 2015. The company expects sales to hit the five million mark by the end of the year (3.6 million in Western Europe, 700,000 in Eastern Europe and 600,000 in the Middle East), representing 9.3 percent of all TV sales in 21 key markets in these regions. Accumulated sales will result in a potential installed base of 6.2 million TV homes.
GfK also forecasts that Ultra HD screens in 2020 will represent more than 70 percent of total sales across Europe and almost 60 percent in the Middle East and North Africa. The annual volume of screens sold in these markets is expected by then to have reached 37 million.
“Eutelsat has researched consumer awareness and appetite for the Ultra HD experience in order to support our broadcast clients as they evaluate business models and timing for rolling-out Ultra HD content,” said Markus Fritz, Eutelsat Director of Commercial Development and Marketing. “The stage is set for Ultra HD to be TV’s next big success story and Eutelsat, as a leader in satellite delivery, is ready to accompany clients in this new rendezvous with viewers.”
Additionally, Telekom Austria Group, Austria’s leading telco, and ANTIK Telekom, the largest regional telco in Slovakia, have selected the EUTELSAT 16A satellite of Eutelsat Communications for their new DTH platform for the Slovak and Czech market.
Called ANTIK Sat, the new platform is due to launch early next month. In order to support ANTIK Sat’s strong line-up of 90+ channels, of which one third in HD, Telekom Austria Group is doubling capacity leased on the EUTELSAT 16A satellite from four to eight transponders. The announcements were made today by the three companies at a press conference during IBC in Amsterdam.
ANTIK Sat is a joint development initiated by Telekom Austria Group and ANTIK Telekom. ANTIK Telecom will now add satellite broadcasting to its expertise in Internet, IPTV and VoIP services via fibre and wireless infrastructure. The platform will include local channels for Slovak and Czech markets and a wide range of international channels. It will also feature an online archive which marks an innovation for a satellite service in both countries. Second-screen online solutions for smart devices will also be available.
Telekom Austria Group will provide a broad portfolio of platform services to ANTIK Telekom, ranging from licensing, encoding with MPEG-4 compression, Conax encryption and uplinking to EUTELSAT 16A from its teleport in Aflenz.
The new service will be marketed on-line and through more than 150 independent distributors across both countries. ANTIK plans in a second stage to offer hybrid boxes combining satellite reception and IP services. It will also seek to forge partnerships with other service providers in Slovak and Czech markets. ANTIK will provide the new TV service at no additional cost to existing customers of its Internet packages and has developed special offers for new customers, such as a starter package at less than one euro and rich HD content packages with mobile TV services included. End users of Internet providers can now watch television at favorable rates included in their Internet or phone packages. Vouchers and set-top boxes can be ordered online and bought at well-known electronics outlets and retail chains.